HOA Homefront: Who does the HOA lawyer symbolize?

Q: Does the HOA lawyer symbolize the board or the HOA? If there’s a battle in several CC&Rs sections relating to HOA or house owner’s accountability to take care of an merchandise and the HOA lawyer is consulted who’s their consumer? — P.G., Huntington Seashore.

Q: Can the final counsel of an HOA symbolize one HOA member in opposition to one other HOA member on a private matter, unrelated to the foundations, laws or CC&Rs of that HOA? In doing so, the lawyer utilized data and witness testimony from the administration firm which arguably wouldn’t have been obtainable for different group members. — R.S., Rancho Mirage.

A: The HOA lawyer represents the HOA, not the board or the president, though the HOA speaks and acts by its board. HOA attorneys shouldn’t be concurrently advising the HOA and particular person HOA members, the administration firm, or any entities doing enterprise with the HOA. The HOA’s lawyer ought to have the ability to be utterly loyal to the HOA always. When the occasional dispute arises between the HOA and its administration, the lawyer should solely take into account the HOA’s pursuits, though they know a lot of their consumer referrals come from managers. Bluntly, that’s the place the moral rubber meets the highway, and most respected firms acknowledge that and don’t maintain it in opposition to the lawyer. Generally, if the HOA is sued together with its supervisor or administrators, the HOA’s lawyer will defend them together with the HOA. Nevertheless, apart from these conditions, the HOA lawyer ought to solely symbolize and advise the HOA.

Q: Not too long ago our board determined to restate the CCRs and bylaws, and drafts have been despatched to house owners. Administration introduced that any inquiries to the lawyer have been to be submitted 4 days previous to the ‘city assembly’. Homeowners wouldn’t be allowed to ask any questions or make any feedback on the assembly.

The draft paperwork have been boilerplate and half of the gadgets added weren’t relevant to our kind of constructing or not relevant to our HOA. Throughout the assembly, it was apparent that the board was shocked and questioned why the lawyer had included the irrelevant sections. At a ‘city corridor’ the lawyer refused to handle any questions directed to him and mentioned that such questions have been coated by attorney-client privilege.

It was my understanding that the lawyer labored for the HOA not the board members as people. Please make clear the attorney-client privilege between the HOA lawyer and the HOA members. — H.S., San Diego

Q: Is that this HOA forgetting that the aim of a city corridor assembly is to reply questions, take strategies and acquire member help for the paperwork? With out the lawyer answering questions, how do the members receive any confidence in voting for the proposed paperwork?

As to the “privilege” declare, I disagree. You’re members and the lawyer isn’t advising you individually however is explaining the rationale as to how the draft governing paperwork are within the affiliation’s finest pursuits (which is totally different than your particular person pursuits). “City corridor” conferences are designed to supply members data and foster dialogue. Some wires are crossed right here and I hope your group will get these wires straightened out.

Kelly G. Richardson, Esq. is a Fellow of the Faculty of Neighborhood Affiliation Attorneys and Associate of Richardson Ober LLP, a California regulation agency identified for group affiliation experience. Submit column inquiries to [email protected].

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